Likely closure of Queen Mother's Maternity Hospital

Health officials today announced a proposals to cut staff, leave vacancies unfilled and keep fewer patients in hospital overnight to save money have been prepared by the city's health authority.

Members of Greater Glasgow NHS board will consider the financial crisis at today's meeting. The same meeting is expected to take a decision on closing the Queen Mother's Maternity Hospital – a proposal which has already caused uproar in the west of Scotland and beyond.

Although overall expenditure will rise, a total of £58m has to be saved over the next two years to meet rising costs, according to a statement from NHS Greater Glasgow due to be released today. This cutback represents more than 5% of the current £1.2bn budget over two years.

The authority also says where it is possible to treat patients in a day, rather than keeping them in hospital over night, they will do so and adds: "A tough approach to filling vacated posts will be imposed across the whole system." NHS Greater Glasgow is currently advertising 59 job vacancies.

New pay and conditions deals for consultants, GPs and junior doctors are said to be among the expenses driving the authority into the red. It has been estimated these new contracts will cost health boards across Scotland more than £100m and other areas may also be forced to slash expenditure elsewhere to foot the swollen wages bill.

Funding the rising bill for prescription drugs and meeting waiting-time targets for operations are also putting pressure on budgets while in Glasgow finding an extra £20m a year to cover new services in areas such as mental health and addiction, which were paid for from the proceeds of the sale of land at Canniesburn, Bearsden last year, is another factor.

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